Saturday, June 24, 2017

Guimaras on full red alert amid Maute, NPA threats

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 23): Guimaras on full red alert amid Maute, NPA threats

The island-province of Guimaras is placed under full red alert status following incidents in Iloilo which are deemed threats to security.

Vice-Governor John Edward Gando confirmed that Governor Samuel T. Gumarin placed the province under full red alert status on Thursday invoking the General Welfare clause of the Local Government Code.

He said the declaration was a product of the governor’s consultation with his office, the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the Provincial Peace and Order Council, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the local chief executives of Jordan, San Lorenzo, Nueva Valencia, Sibunag, and Buenavista.

The declaration was prompted by the recent security incidents, particularly the NPA raid of Maasin (Iloilo) PNP and the arrest of three suspected members of Maute at International Port of Iloilo. Recently, government troops clashed with alleged NPA in Leon, Iloilo.

Gumarin issued the security status through Executive Order No. 33, series of 2017. Through the EO, barangay and municipal officials are directed to closely monitor their territorial areas of jurisdiction for persons and activities that may disrupt the peace and order of the province.

Gando said with the declaration, there was an ongoing consultation and meetings with the government officials and stakeholders to plan what security measures, particularly in wharves, would be implemented.

Gando said there was a proposal to impose an ID system for Guimarasnons and installation of CCTV cameras in all its ports. The municipal officials were urged to pass ordinance that would require establishments to install CCTVs to boost monitoring.

“Some of the measures considered are stepping up police visibility, enhancement of communications capabilities. There is also a proposal to impose an ID system for Guimarasnons,” he said.

Gando advised the public to be alert and be calm instead of becoming alarmed. He said the province’s move was a preemptive and preventing measure.

“We are not taking things sitting down; (this is) more of a preemptive measure and in a sense, putting focus on what is going on around. It is not impossible that someone will go to the province. For us, it is just to preempt things and be prepared,” Gando said.

Guimarasnons are advised to report suspicious persons and activities to their barangay and municipal officials.

“You know how it is in the province; it is closely-knit that we know when there are new faces and activities in our barangays. I urge the public to immediately report suspicious activities to the authorities,” he stressed.

Other security measures considered is the installation of Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) at all ports in the island; procurement of K9 dogs for deployment to island-barangays; trainings of barangay police; among others.

Guimaras is declared insurgency-free since 2008 and was conferred the Internal Peace and Security Operation (IPSO) by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 2014.

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